LAS VEGAS – Air Force athletic director Hans Mueh gave men’s basketball coach Jeff Reynolds an endorsement on Tuesday, the day before the Falcons meet Wyoming in the Mountain West Conference Tournament play-in game.

Air Force has lost 32 of its last 34 games against MWC teams and recently finished in the league basement for the second season in a row.

But Mueh said he remained confident in Reynolds and wanted the coach back for the 2010-11 campaign.

“I just really feel we’ll be better next year,” he said.

Even if the Falcons did want to part ways with Reynolds, it would be difficult to do so.

According to Air Force sports information director Troy Garnhart, the academy would owe Reynolds what remains on his contract. And after last season’s 10-21 campaign, the academy gave Reynolds a five-year deal that runs through 2014. That means he has four more years left on the deal, and a buyout would cost the academy approximately $1.5 million.

Mueh on Tuesday noted the effect injuries have had on the Falcons this season. Sophomore Sammy Schafer, who projected to be Air Force’s starting center, has been out since the third game of the season with post-concussion symptoms. And six other players combined to miss 33 games, including senior forward/center Grant Parker (who missed 10 with a pelvic injury) and sophomore forward Taylor Stewart (who missed 13 with a broken wrist).

“I really had higher expectations for this season, I did,” Mueh said. “I think everybody did. But I really believe the injuries had such a devastating effect – and it was more than just the injuries, it was the mental impact on the team as well. So I’d love to turn the clock back and not have those. ... I’ve never seen adversity hit a team like this team.”